LIVE: Devon Allman and Samantha Fish @ The Egg, 03/24/2022

To compare Devon Allman to his father, Gregg Allman, is like trying to compare Hank Williams Jr. and Hank III to their father and grandfather. Devon plays guitar, not keyboards. His voice isn’t as husky as his dad’s, and his current band, The Devon Allman Project, is more diverse in its styles than the Allman Brothers who pretty much stuck to the southern rock they invented in the ’60s. 

The Devon Allman Project did dip into the Allman Brothers repertoire early in their one-hour set, but the most interesting numbers included a new song by guest blues artist Larry McCray and an all-hands-on-deck encore of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” with opening act Samantha Fish doing the Stevie Nicks vocal so closely that if you closed your eyes, you’d have thought she was singing it. 

Photo by Claude Sawyer

Larry McCray backed by Devon’s band sang “Mr. Easy” from his new album Blues Without You, set for release today, March 25th. Larry’s style is fundamentally more like his mentors, seminal Delta and Chicago bluesmen he has performed and toured with including BB King, Buddy Guy, and Albert King. His playing was in stark contrast to that of Samantha whom he also sat in with. He is stocky, black and rough-hewn. She’s svelte, almost demure with a voice like Shirley Temple and a guitar style that’s the 21st century equivalent to Led Zeppelin. 

Devon introduced a bongo and sax player R. Scott Bryon with him only for the last six dates of this tour. His playing gave a Santana flavor to the material early in the set that illustrated that Devon is like Bob Weir who has spread out in the almost 30 years since Jerry Garcia’s death cherry-picking other great artists to play with. Other musicians in The Devon Allman Project include Tyler Stokes on guitar, bass player Justin Corgin, and John Lum on drums.  

Devon has the energy of Warren Haynes and the emotional appeal of Derek Trucks both of the Allman Brothers, but he claims not to have tried to emulate his late Uncle Duane Allman’s slide work. “I never sat down and learned his licks,” he told Michael Buffalo Smith of Gritz. “I never picked up a slide because of him. I thought it would be a little too much. Not to say I never will, but I wanted to be respectful, you know?  I went to his grave once and I just sat there and lost it. There’s some kind of ribbon of connectivity. Not so much about music but about family. And I think there were multifaceted reasons behind those tears. For him not being on the planet anymore. For my dad not having him anymore. For my grandmother not having him anymore. For music as a whole not having him anymore. But he will live forever through his great music.” 

Photo by Claude Sawyer

Samantha Fish proved that her orgasmic set at Empire Live in November was no fluke. She managed to completely conquer the big Hart Theater at the Egg with an opening set that included her best-known number “Better Be Lonely” and other recent songs that came across as less over the top than in November and more nuanced. She absolutely is the poster child for the argument that anything a man can do she can do better. River Kitten newly signed to Devon Allman’s label opened with a down-home 30-minute set by Mattie Schell and Allie Vogler on mandolin and acoustic guitar. They did not bring their electric lead guitarist and bass player from their November set.

Photo Gallery by Claude Sawyer

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